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The state of things - Looking for a moment of perfect beauty
November 18th, 2012
09:38 pm

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The state of things
I'm not sure how much longer I will be able to stay in this marriage. Not only does Tom refuse to look for a job and doesn't keep up with the dishes, but he spends all night playing online and sleeping all day. The worst part is when he plays into the wee hours, gets upset about how the game is going, and starts yelling obscenities. Last night he did this on and off for about a half an hour, yelling loud enough for the whole house to hear him. The very worst thing is that my oldest daughter had a friend sleeping over. I can just imagine what she thinks now.

If any mutual friends feel like giving him a clue by four, I'd appreciate it.

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From:roaming
Date:November 19th, 2012 07:51 am (UTC)
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well. big time suckage that can't be left without comment, so I'm commenting. No clue what to say since I don't know you or him personally, haven't commented here in years. But sounds like you should suggest -- a/k/a demand -- that he join you in counseling if he wants to keep the marriage and your family together. He did write that he considers you his best friend. And if he's depressed about not being employed, gaming is the perfect escape into the realms one has some control over. When that also gives him the middle finger . . . well, understandable that he'd overreact. But still not a good thing to do around the kids, he needs to get a grip/channel his fear of failure differently.

I hope you both will get through this to a better place, together.
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From:motodraconis
Date:November 19th, 2012 11:17 am (UTC)
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Ok, first off, I'm not a qualified person, so I'm talking out of my own life experience here and out of my arse with an untrained opinion, but it sounds like he's hiding from life, possibly self-medicating depression by absorbing himself in a game world and sleeping to avoid the real world.

From my own experience, strong words, kind words, pleading or pep talks from you or chums will have little or no effect, he needs treatment. Perhaps counselling, perhaps even medication for depression. He needs to realise there is a problem and be willing to accept/seek out professional help to fix this.

The trouble is with depression, what a lot of people don't realise is that living with a depressed partner who is unwilling to accept treatment is hell on earth. The depressed person can become very selfish and even abusive, leaving the other partner shouldering all the work, all the care, every bloody thing. Untreated, you will end up depressed and ill too, you are not a bottomless pit of resources, and you may be forced to leave to conserve your own sanity. (I had to, in my case.)

If you were in the UK, I'd say he should go to the doctor for a start, but I dunno how things work in the US. (Expensively no doubt.)

Maybe you're going to have to lay things on the line - he gets treatment, or the marriage will be placed in jeopardy as you will become ill too. As someone once put it very eloquently for situations such as this. "You need to put your own oxygen mask on before you can attend to others."

Good luck, I do know something of how you may be feeling in this, and it is a horrible situation to be caught up in.

Edited at 2012-11-19 11:19 am (UTC)
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From:necturus
Date:November 20th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
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I am more or less a random voice in the cloud, having never met any of y'all. But I have done my share of struggling with depression, albeit not recently, and a dear friend of mine lives with a depressed spouse and her situation seems very much like this one.

When I was depressed, I was constantly beset by fearful thoughts: fear of failure, fear of losing control, fear that I wouldn't be able to deal with the challenges I found myself facing. The more I thought about my situation, the worse I felt. I was a freshman at Harvard, newly arrived from upstate New York, plunged into an a cold, dark, alien world filled with people who were all smarter than I, more experienced in life, and had vastly better social skills. As fall gave way to winter, my depression deepened, and I started to feel like I was swirling around a great black pit of despair. I eventually discovered that *not* thinking about my situation made me feel better, so I started looking for things I could do to distract myself. The radio station on campus published (and still publishes) a bi-monthly program guide, so I volunteered to spend nights with several other kids typing stuff into computer terminals at the Business School, which gave the radio station computer access in exchange for some software development. I would type until five or six in the morning every night, go to breakfast with the rest of the kids, and then home to crash.

Tom's Internet gaming sounds a lot like my program guide work: a distraction. It is part of the healing process, I think; every minute he spends on line is a minute not spent punishing himself by ruminating about his fears. In my case, distraction got me through the worst of it, and eventually I found I was able to cope after all. I learned to stop making things worse, and that the human soul, like the body, naturally tends to heal itself when it is not being constantly hurt.

My advice to my friend has been to focus first and foremost on her needs; as you say, put your oxygen mask on first. Telling her husband to get professional help isn't constructive; it only makes him feel resentful. What is more helpful is for her to make him understand the effect his behavior has on her, and the burden she is bearing for the sake of their marriage. She needs to make her needs clearly understood, and where the boundaries are that he needs to respect if he wants her to stay with him.

Ultimately, I don't think anyone wants to be depressed, even if he may feel he deserves no better. It is hell. He may not yet know how to get out, but surely he wants to, even if he may not yet know how. And when he does learn how, he will likely find that it is a slow process; healing always is.

My best wishes to both of you, and mat the weeks and months to come bring an end to hurt.
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From:motodraconis
Date:November 20th, 2012 07:40 am (UTC)
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I suspect Gardenfey has already been trying to be understanding, to explain the problems to her partner, to give him time. However, from the sounds of her post, this situation has been going on too long and is not improving, so it is time to take the next step before both partners end up locked in depression. I'm not trying to lay blame on depressed people, but severe depression is an illness, and prolonged bouts of it should be treated by experts. You would not tell the partner of a schizophrenic that professional help isn't constructive, and a bit of explaining is all that's needed. Yes, no one wants to be ill, but it is unfair to expect a partner, who has no training in mental health, to support a depressed person indefinitely and without any external support, any more than you might care for a person suffering from any treatable illness that (for example) might require medication in order to heal.
My comment was strongly worded, and I suspected it might upset people. I tried to avoid this by stressing that the difficulties arise from lack of treatment, not from being depressed. You speak from personal experience, as do I. I lived with a depressed partner for 2 years, in a situation uncannily similar to the on above. True, many people come out of depression by themselves, given time, and that is excellent, but in my case, there was no improvement. I tried my utmost to talk, support, give time, all the things you mention, but to no avail. Eventually I begged him to get help, but he refused. By the end of 2 years of this I was severely depressed too and wanted to die. The stress of caring for my partner, (and putting up with the related mental abuse) also manifested in a range of physical symptoms including paralysis. I do not wish what I had on anyone, certainly not for the sake of a treatable illness. (And yes, I sought doctors help and ended up in counselling myself to recover.)

I do get that in the US, treatment my well be expensive and difficult to access. Sadly, I have no answer to that.
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From:aishabintjamil
Date:November 19th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC)
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I wish I had a handy solution for you, but he hasn't showed up for one of my face-to-face games in months, and when he does, he falls asleep. I don't think we have a whole lot of influence. The temper tantrum thing is not new. That's a behavior that made us stop wanting to play any kind of competitive game with him when he was still in college. It seemed to us to have gotten much better since the kids, but perhaps he was just managing it better.

All I can offer is a reminder that Beth and I are friends with both of you, and if you need to talk, we're here. Just pick up the phone.
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From:firebreathnchkn
Date:November 19th, 2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
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Sigh. I am sorry. Hugs.

But, this does sound like a bad case of depression.
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